A-Z Site Index

UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter: December 2021 (200th issue)


New UN websites & publications

UN in General

UN Archives website now in 6 official languages
see also: https://www.un.org/en/delegate/un-archives-website-now-6-official-languages

UN Archives Geneva Platform
The new platform gives access to the fonds and collections managed by the United Nations Library and Archives in Geneva, including the archives of the United Nations in Geneva, the League of Nations (1919-1946), international peace movements (from 1870), and private papers. It offers the possibility to search both the description of files or archival documents and in the full text of archival documents that have been digitized.

Dag Hammarskjöld – Speeches and Statements
All the speeches and statements by former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld are now available in the UN Digital Library: https://bit.ly/3FZ24R7
see also: https://twitter.com/SCProcedure/status/1465355751464095745


Diplomatic Pulse: Search Engine for Official Press Releases of UN Member States
Developed jointly by DPPA’s Innovation Cell and the Qatar Computer Research Institute (QCRI) at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Diplomatic Pulse is a new web tool that allows users to quickly search official statements and press releases from all UN Member States. The initiative aims to advance data analytics and internal capacities across the UN family, in line with the Secretary-General’s Data Strategy.


Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

COVID-19-Response-Logo (English)

Losing Time: End this pandemic and secure the future
Efforts to reform global pandemic preparedness and response are happening too slowly, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response said on 22 November 2021. Presenting the findings of a six-month accountability report, Co-chairs Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia, warned that “uneven” progress in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause illness, deaths and economic losses.  Calling for Heads of State and Government to come together to make faster progress, especially at the UN General Assembly, the two leaders pointed out that with much of the groundwork done, now is the time to end the pandemic and prepare for the next global health threat.

COVID-19 and Climate-Smart Health Care: Health Sector Opportunities for a Synergistic Response to the COVID-19 and Climate Crises (World Bank)
The emergence of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has brought with it a sharp focus on public health services and health systems as well as shed light on the chronic lack of capacity to manage emerging public health risks. Climate change further exacerbates this challenge. In combination with COVID-19, the climate crisis presents a clear and present risk of disrupting and overwhelming health systems, health care facilities, and the health care staff upon which these systems rely. This risk is of particular concern in those settings with already weak health systems, leadership challenges, insufficient resources, and limited capacities. Despite these concerns, the collective global effort to respond to COVID-19 and recover from it also presents important opportunities for implementing profound cross-cutting efforts within the health sector to tackle both the pandemic and the climate crisis. This report provides a framework that builds on the World Bank’s climate-smart health care approach and integrates the World Bank’s multiphase programmatic approach (MPA) into the global COVID-19 response. It is intended to guide ongoing as well as pipeline activities and investments targeted at the pandemic, with a view to enabling the health sector to leapfrog toward climate-smart universal health coverage (UHC).

COVID-19 Public Health and Social Measures (PHSM) Calibration Tool (WHO/Europe)
The tool helps define the situation at a country or regional level and provides policy recommendations on the types of mitigating measures that could be implemented in response. The tool should be used at least every two weeks to provide an up-to-date assessment of the situation and to allow for the adoption of the most appropriate measures for that particular time.
see also: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/news/news/2021/11/new-whoeurope-phsm-platform-and-calibration-tool-launched-to-help-monitor-and-make-decisions-on-covid-19-preventive-measures

Detention of children in the time of COVID (UNICEF)
Estimating the number of children deprived of their liberty in the administration of justice (UNICEF)
More than 45,000 children have been released from detention and safely returned to family or an appropriate alternative since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data released by UNICEF on 14 November 2021. Detention of children in the time of COVID reveals that governments and detaining authorities in at least 84 countries have released thousands of children since April 2020 when UNICEF drew attention to their increased risk of contracting COVID-19 in confined and overcrowded spaces, and called for their immediate release.
The study is one of two analyses that illustrate the situation for hundreds of thousands of children deprived of their liberty every year. Both reports are released ahead of the World Congress on Justice with Children. … Worldwide, an estimated 261,000 children in conflict with the law – those who have been alleged, accused or recognized as having committed an offence – are held in detention, according to the second UNICEF analysis. Estimating the number of children deprived of their liberty in the administration of justice – the first such analysis since 2007 – warns that incomplete record-keeping and undeveloped administrative data systems in many countries mean the number is likely to be much higher.

Estimated number of deaths directly averted in people 60 years and older as a result of COVID-19 vaccination in the WHO European Region, December 2020 to November 2021
A new study released on 25 November 2021 by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published in Eurosurveillance estimates that 470 000 lives have been saved among those aged 60 years and over since the start of COVID-19 vaccination rollout in 33 countries across the WHO European Region. This estimate does not include lives saved by vaccinating people under 60 nor lives saved from the indirect effect of vaccination because of a reduction in transmission.
see also: https://www.euro.who.int/en/media-centre/sections/press-releases/2021/who-regional-office-for-europe-nearly-half-a-million-lives-saved-by-covid-19-vaccination-in-less-than-a-year

Health systems resilience during COVID-19: Lessons for building back better (WHO/Europe)
The COVID-19 pandemic represents a health system shock of unprecedented scale. Health systems resilience – defined as the ability to absorb, adapt, and transform to cope with shocks – is needed to ensure sustained performance of the health system functions (governance, financing, resource generation, and service delivery) so that the ultimate health system goals, especially that of improving health of the population, can be achieved. As we have witnessed, few countries could achieve this goal and even fewer could do so in a sustained way – leaving all countries with important lessons to learn. The lessons derived in this study can inform both the ongoing efforts, while countries are still grappling with the pandemic, as well as help ensure these efforts also incorporate a longer-term perspective, thus improving preparedness to any future health system shocks. While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ response that all countries could replicate, the study identifies 20 key strategies, grouped according to the health systems functions, that have been found as enhancing health systems resilience in the face of COVID-19. They have strong interlinkages and do not work in isolation, and this book also considers how the health system operates in the context of other systems, and broader political and governance structures.

Locked down and in limbo: The global impact of COVID-19 on migrant worker rights and recruitment (ILO)
English: https://bit.ly/30SL3cD
French: https://bit.ly/3lk59Uj
Spanish: https://bit.ly/3l03aEb
The COVID-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on migrant workers all over the world, in particular those employed in precarious low-wage sectors, who were often the first to experience the economic shock of the pandemic, says a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Migrant workers were also targets of discrimination and xenophobia, says the report. Many migrant workers had their employment summarily suspended or terminated as the virus spread, leaving them without a source of income. Some employees were stood down without pay, while others had their hours or rates of pay reduced, or were required to go on leave. Others were not paid for work they had done, in violation of the terms of their contracts. Migrant workers often found themselves stranded due to lockdowns and border closures. Others were suddenly repatriated, without operational systems and protocols in place. In some instances, public health law was used to justify their expulsion. Returnees were then often stigmatized and subject to long periods of compulsory quarantine because they were considered to be carriers of COVID-19.

Measuring the shadow pandemic: Violence against women during COVID-19 (UN Women)
On the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), this new report released by UN Women highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s safety at home and in public spaces. The report shows that women’s feelings of safety have been eroded, leading to significant negative impacts on their mental and emotional well-being. The report comes as the world kicks off the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, from 25 November to 10 December, under the global theme set by the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign, “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”

Preventing a lost decade: Urgent action to reverse the devastating impact of COVID-19 on children and young people (UNICEF)
Almost two years into the pandemic, the widespread impact of COVID-19 continues to deepen, increasing poverty and entrenching inequality. While some countries are recovering and rebuilding in a ‘new normal’, for many, COVID-19 remains a crisis. The human rights of all children are under threat to a degree that has not been seen in more than a generation. The global response so far has been deeply unequal and inadequate. The world now stands at a crossroads. The actions we take now will determine the well-being and rights of children for years to come. As we commemorate UNICEF’s 75th year, this report lays out the work in front of us by taking stock of the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on children and the road to respond and recover to reimagine the future for every child.

Regional Collective Action to Address Covid-19 and Prepare for Future Pandemics (UNU-CRIS Policy Brief)
The need for regional cooperation in addressing health threats and supporting preparedness is clear. Regional cooperation around COVID-19 has varied, reflecting disparities in political support, resources and health governance across regions, while highlighting the urgency for strengthening efforts to address the current pandemic and future crises. We recommend that G20 countries support regional organizations to foster a coordinated regional health response; reaffirm their support for the World Health Organization (WHO) and other regional organizations; promote regional needs in discussions around pandemics; invest in scaling-up capacity for data sharing and for the production of supplies, vaccines and medicines; and foster inter-regional cooperation. This policy brief has been published under the Think20 Task Force 1 on Global Health and Covid-19.

Remote Learning During COVID-19: Lessons from Today, Principles for Tomorrow (World Bank)
School closures during COVID-19 (coronavirus) led to an unprecedented global experiment in the delivery of remote learning. This report seeks to assess what lessons can be drawn from experiences of remote learning during COVID-19 in K-12 education, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries. It focuses on the period from March 2020 to October 2021 and addresses the following key questions: 1. Was remote learning during COVID-19 taken up and if so, was it effective? That is, did children learn as much as they did during pre-pandemic, in-person learning? 2. What lessons can governments derive from this wide-spread experience? 3. How might policymakers use these lessons to reimagine learning as schools begin to reopen? This report is part of a larger effort led by the World Bank to provide guidance and technical assistance to optimize country effectiveness in the design and execution of remote learning strategies. It has been developed in conjunction with Remote Learning During the Global School Lockdown: Multi-Country Lessons, a qualitative study conducted between May and November 2020 to understand the perceived effectiveness of remote and remedial learning solutions implemented across 17 countries.

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 (UNICEF Innocenti Research Report)
The COVID-19 pandemic led to school closures around the world, affecting almost 1.6 billion students. The effects of even short disruptions in a child’s schooling on their learning and well-being have been shown to be acute and long lasting. The capacities of education systems to respond to the crisis by delivering remote learning and support to children and families have been diverse yet uneven. This report reviews the emerging evidence on remote learning throughout the global school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic to help guide decision-makers to build more effective, sustainable, and resilient education systems for current and future crises.

Responding to violence against women and children during COVID-19: impact on service provision, strategies and actions in the WHO European Region (2021)
A new report published by WHO/Europe shows that helplines providing support to women and children experiencing violence saw a spike in calls during the first 9 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data in the new report was collected between January and September 2020, a time in which millions of people in the WHO European Region were confined to their homes because of lockdowns or other restrictive measures. While showing a rise in demand for services provided by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) during COVID-19 lockdowns, the report also finds that 52 of the 53 countries in the Region adopted some form of measure to prevent or respond to the violence. The publication of the report coincides with this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual, activist-led campaign of individuals and organizations around the world, calling for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

Social media & COVID-19: A global study of digital crisis interaction among Gen Z and Millennials (WHO)
The unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how the spread of misinformation, amplified on social media and other digital platforms, is proving to be as much a threat to global public health as the virus itself. Technology advancements and social media create opportunities to keep people safe, informed and connected. However, the same tools also enable and amplify the current infodemic that continues to undermine the global response and jeopardizes measures to control the pandemic. Although young people are less at risk of severe disease from COVID-19, they are a key group in the context of this pandemic and share in the collective responsibility to help us stop transmission. They are also the most active online, interacting with an average number of 5 digital platforms (such as, Twitter, TikTok, WeChat and Instagram) daily. To better understand how young adults are engaging with technology during this global communication crisis, an international study was conducted, covering approximately 23,500 respondents, aged 18-40 years, in 24 countries across five continents. This project was a collaboration between the World Health Organization (WHO), Wunderman Thompson, the University of Melbourne and Pollfish. With data collected from late October 2020 to early January 2021, the outcomes provide key insights on where Gen Z and Millennials seek COVID-19 information, who they trust as credible sources, their awareness and actions around false news, and what their concerns are.

The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery; A joint UNESCO, UNICEF and World Bank report
Report in English, Executive Summary in English, French, Spanish & Portuguese:
This generation of students now risks losing $17 trillion in lifetime earnings in present value, or about 14 percent of today’s global GDP, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic-related school closures, according to a new report published on 6 December 2021 by the World Bank, UNESCO, and UNICEF. The new projection reveals that the impact is more severe than previously thought, and far exceeds the $10 trillion estimates released in 2020. In addition the report shows that in low- and middle-income countries, the share of children living in Learning Poverty – already 53 percent before the pandemic – could potentially reach 70 percent given the long school closures and the ineffectiveness of remote learning to ensure full learning continuity during school closures.

WTO-IMF COVID-19 Vaccine Trade Tracker
The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) launched on 22 November the WTO-IMF COVID-19 Vaccine Trade Tracker, a new database aimed at providing greater transparency on the cross-border flow of COVID-19 vaccines. The portal provides data on the trade and supply of vaccines by product, country and arrangement type. The new platform builds on the work of the WTO Secretariat information notes on COVID-19 and world trade and the IMF Staff Discussion Note — A Proposal to End the COVID-19 Pandemic. The portal provides an array of data on total vaccine supply to date, exports by producing economy and by supply arrangement type, imports by income group and by continent, supply by manufacturing economy and vaccine type, supply to continents and vaccination status. The vaccine tracker draws information from the public domain, the COVAX Global Vaccine Market Assessment, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Duke Global Health Innovation Center, Airfinity, Our World in Data, the World Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank and the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT). The data contained in the tracker is preliminary and will be subject to revisions in collaboration with countries and areas, suppliers, and immunization, health and financing partners. Updates will be provided every month to reflect latest developments.


Economic Growth and Sustainable Development

2022 State of the World’s Volunteerism Report: Building Equal and Inclusive Societies
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme launched on 2 December 2021 the fourth State of the World’s Volunteerism Report (SWVR) at the United Nations General Assembly. The SWVR 2022 presents new evidence on the relationship between volunteers and the state. It shows that the ways in which volunteers and state authorities interact, collaborate and partner are vital for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. Volunteers broker relationships and serve as mediators between communities and state authorities, in essence acting as bridge-builders. They also help transform unequal power relationships between ordinary citizens and state authorities. In doing so, they ensure that development processes are more people-centred and responsive to local needs.

2021 World AIDS Day report: Unequal, unprepared, under threat: why bold action against inequalities is needed to end AIDS, stop COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics
UNAIDS issued a stark warning on 29 November 2021 that if leaders fail to tackle inequalities the world could face 7.7 million AIDS-related deaths over the next 10 years. UNAIDS further warns that if the transformative measures needed to end AIDS are not taken, the world will also stay trapped in the COVID-19 crisis and remain dangerously unprepared for the pandemics to come. The warning comes in this new report by UNAIDS launched ahead of World AIDS Day (1 December).


Assessment of agricultural plastics and their sustainability: a call for action (FAO)
The scourge of unsightly images of plastic refuse littering our beaches and oceans always receives much attention. But a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) suggests that the land we use to grow our food is contaminated with far larger quantities of plastic pollution, posing an even greater threat to food security, people’s health, and the environment. The report is the first global report of its kind by FAO and contains some startling numbers. According to data collated by the agency’s experts, agricultural value chains each year use 12.5 million tonnes of plastic products. A further 37.3 million tonnes are used in food packaging. The crop production and livestock sectors were found to be the largest users, accounting for 10.2 million tonnes per year collectively, followed by fisheries and aquaculture with 2.1 million tonnes, and forestry with 0.2 million tonnes. Asia was estimated to be the largest user of plastics in agricultural production, accounting for almost half of global usage. In the absence of viable alternatives, demand for plastic in agriculture is only set to increase. According to industry experts, for instance, global demand for greenhouse, mulching and silage films will increase by 50 percent, from 6.1 million tonnes in 2018 to 9.5 million tonnes in 2030. Such trends make it essential to balance the costs and benefits of plastic. Of increasing concern are microplastics, which have the potential of adversely affecting human health. While there are gaps in the data, they shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to act, FAO warned.

Building Climate Resilient and Sustainable Cities for All (UNOPS)
Climate change and informality are intertwined causes of urban poverty. Since its inception, Cities Alliance and its members have promoted an integrated and inclusive approach to the city in which building resilience for the urban poor is at the core. This publication highlights a wealth of knowledge and practice gained through our projects and initiatives over time. It also provides key evidence of the challenges and opportunities of tackling climate change and bolstering adaptation where it matters most: in urban informal settlements in rapidly urbanizing countries.


The Changing Childhood Project: A multigenerational, international survey on 21st century childhood (UNICEF)
Children and young people are nearly 50 per cent more likely than older people to believe that the world is becoming a better place with each generation, according to a new international survey by UNICEF and Gallup released ahead of World Children’s Day. The survey shows that young people are also more likely to believe childhood itself has improved, with overwhelming majorities believing that healthcare, education, and physical safety are better for today’s children than for their parents’ generation. Yet, despite their optimism, young people are far from naïve, expressing restlessness for action on climate change, skepticism about information they consume on social media, and struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety. They are far more likely than older people to see themselves as global citizens, and more likely to embrace international cooperation to tackle threats like the COVID-19 pandemic.

FAO Activity Book – Our actions are our future: Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life
English, French, Spanish, Italian & Portuguese: https://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/cb5047en
Learn about the fascinating world behind food and agriculture in the World Food Day Activity Book. Follow the journey of food from the farm to your table and the great efforts food heroes make to get it there, no matter the circumstances. And find out how your choices and actions can make a difference. No matter your age, you can be a food hero! Other FAO Activity Books: Your Guide to FAO, Working for ZeroHunger, Change the Future of Migration, Climate is Changing, Eating healthy matters, Healthy plants – healthy planet: https://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/ca9845en

Forest Sector Outlook Study 2020 – 2040 (UNECE)
The impacts of climate change on forests will be profound. Yet global emissions reduction models rely on the ability for forests to both sequester carbon and scale up production of innovative new products that can replace emissions-intensive materials used in construction, textiles and energy generation. The UNECE Forest Sector Outlook Study 2020 – 2040, launched on 22 November 2021 at the joint session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (COFFI) and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) European Forestry Commission (EFC), presents rigorous scenario modelling-based policy considerations for the forest industry to support sustainable supply-chains and contribute to global climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

From City to Sea: Integrated Management of Litter and Plastics and Their Effects on Waterways – A Guide for Municipalities (World Bank)
This Guide for Municipalities is intended for use by municipal officers and service providers concerned with: (a) policies and programs that influence waste generation and management; (b) the urban environment in which litter is generated, accumulated, and transported; and (c) the waterways they affect, this includes those in charge of policy, municipal planning, urban planning, public works, and solid waste management. The guide was created to help municipal decision makers, service providers, and municipal planners understand the potentially critical consequences of litter in their cities and develop comprehensive, interdisciplinary approaches to managing litter flows. It introduces an array of management measures and describes when they would be appropriate based on local circumstances. To strengthen the case for taking an integrated litter management approach, it provides background information on the social and environmental challenges posed by litter and how these have been tackled in some cities.

Global Environment Outlook for Cities report: Towards Green and Just Cities
Global cities are key to overcoming the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and pollution. A new vision of future cities is detailed in a report released on 18 November 2021 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). The report identifies urbanization as one of the main drivers of environmental change and calls for urgent action to achieve net-zero circular cities that are resilient, sustainable, inclusive, and just. Emphasizing the links between social and ecological calamities, the report lays out pathways to overcome the main social-political lock-ins that perpetuate both inequality and climate change. Through a review of existing literature and multiple case studies, the report shows how environmental degradation affects the physical and mental health of people living in urban centres, particularly hurting women, children, and the elderly. To achieve effective and just solutions for particular contexts, the report calls for decision making and planning processes that are inclusive of those that are typically excluded.

Global Research and Action Network for a New Eco-Social Contract (UNRISD)
The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in partnership with the Green Economy Coalition (GEC) is building a Global Research and Action Network to explore the promise of a new eco-social contract as a way of responding to pressing social and ecological challenges. The network is a space for dialogue, debate, co-construction and action around the meaning of a new eco-social contract; good practices for its design; and mechanisms for its application. Research, practice, advocacy and policy decision-making communities working for social, climate and environmental justice are invited to join in this endeavour.

Global Value Chain Development Report 2021: Beyond Production (WTO)
Global value chains (GVCs) have proven to be resilient in the face of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as environmental and geopolitical shocks according to a new report co-published by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and three other institutions on 16 November. The report details recent trends in GVCs, looking in particular at the increasing role of services and intellectual property, and sheds light on their importance for global economic recovery.


The ILO Global HIV Discrimination in the World of Work Survey
More than 40 years after the AIDS epidemic began, significant HIV-related, stigma and discrimination persist, according to a new global survey, released ahead of World Aids Day.  Nearly four out of ten respondents said that people living with HIV should not be allowed to work directly with those who do not have HIV. As many as six in ten people, also supported mandatory HIV testing before people are allowed to work. The study revealed how stigmatizing and discriminatory attitudes are fuelled by a lack of knowledge on HIV transmission. Only one in two people knew HIV cannot be transmitted by sharing a bathroom and only one in four people correctly answered questions about how HIV is transmitted. Myths and misconceptions persist and contribute to stigma and discrimination. The report is the product of a ground-breaking collaboration between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the opinion poll company, Gallup International. It sheds light on the causes of the persistence of HIV-related stigma and discrimination in the world of work. Information was collected from more than 55,000 people in 50 countries, worldwide.

Measuring digital development: Facts and figures 2021 (ITU)
An estimated 37 per cent of the world’s population – or 2.9 billion people – have still never used the Internet. New data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), also reveal strong global growth in Internet use, with the estimated number of people who have used the Internet surging to 4.9 billion in 2021, from an estimated 4.1 billion in 2019. This comes as good news for global development. However, ITU data confirm that the ability to connect remains profoundly unequal. Of the 2.9 billion still offline, an estimated 96 per cent live in developing countries. And even among the 4.9 billion counted as ‘Internet users’, many hundreds of millions may only get the chance to go online infrequently, via shared devices, or using connectivity speeds that markedly limit the usefulness of their connection.

No One Worse Off? The role of Environmental and Social Safeguards for Resilient Infrastructure Projects in Cities (UNOPS)
Safeguards are internationally recognised mitigation measures designed to significantly reduce or remove negative environmental and social impacts caused by development projects.This publication from Cities Alliance, in partnership with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), looks into the landscape of existing safeguards and illustrates how environmental and social impact assessments can help address poverty in cities through the protection of livelihoods and the environment. The report also formulates key recommendations to increase the sustainability of infrastructure projects for the benefit of all citizens and the residents of informal urban settlements in particular.

 Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education (UNESCO)
Imagining a new future for education by 2050, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is asking three questions: What should be continued? What should be abandoned? And what needs to be creatively invented afresh?  In its new global report published on 10 November 2021, the agency is proposing answers to these three essential questions. Over a million people took part in the global consultation process that informed the report, which calls for a major transformation to repair past injustices and enhance the capacity to act together for a more sustainable and just future. Two years in the making, UNESCO wants the publication to start a global debate and movement, to forge a new contract between parents, children, and educators around the world.

SEPAL – System for earth observations, data access, processing & analysis for land monitoring
Producing sound data on forests and land-use has become easier with the launch of a new phase of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) state-of-the-art forest and land monitoring platform SEPAL. The second phase of SEPAL – System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing and Analysis for Land Monitoring – can directly support FAO member countries in their efforts to generate transparent, accurate and consistent geospatial data, which is critical for reducing deforestation and degradation, and accelerating restoration. It will also help to ward off the worst impacts of climate change, protect against biodiversity loss, and safeguard the many benefits of forests to people and nature. The launch took place at a side-event at the Geo for Good Summit on 17 November 2021 – an annual conference organized by Google and geared toward non-profits, scientists, government agencies and other change-makers who want to leverage geospatial technology for positive impact in the world.

Rising to the Challenge: Spotlight Initiative Impact Report 2020-2021
Despite COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, some 650,000 women and girls were provided with gender-based violence services through a joint UN and European Union (EU) programme working to stamp out what is arguably one of the most prevalent human rights violations. This is just one of the achievements detailed in the Spotlight Initiative’s impact report for 2020-21, launched in New York on 19 November 2021. It details how the partners rapidly adjusted programmes during the global crisis to address the shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls. The Spotlight Initiative is the world’s largest targeted effort to end all forms of violence against women and girls. In addition to scaling up services during the pandemic, it assisted civil society organizations to swiftly adapt to the changing environment and to strengthen online services, such as telecounselling and hotlines. Funds were also shifted to support more local and grassroots organizations, with $146 million allocated to date.

Sea-based sources of marine litter
The sources and impact of sea-based marine litter form the focus of a new report by the Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), an advisory body to the United Nations sponsored by ten UN entities, including IMO. The report outlines the various sources of marine litter and the impact and assesses the current availability of data and identifies knowledge gaps for the main categories of sea-based sources of marine plastic litter. The Working Group was established by GESAMP, on the request of IMO, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report stresses the urgent need to reduce marine litter. It outlines a number of ongoing initiatives and suggested steps to combat this issue, providing readers with practical information. It also highlights knowledge gaps and suggested areas for future academic and scientific research, including on the impact of COVID-19 on ocean industries and livelihoods that result in marine litter. Although very little quantification of sea-based sources of marine litter exists in the scientific, peer-reviewed and grey literature (highlighted as an area for further research), the report looks at five main categories. These are: Fishing, Aquaculture, Shipping and Boating, Dumping of waste and other matter at sea, Other ocean uses. The report concludes that sea-based activities do contribute to the global burden of marine litter, and that this does warrants concern. However, it is not possible to estimate the total contribute of sea-based sources and a concerted effort to updates global estimates is needed to fill these knowledge gaps, together with renewed efforts to reduce inputs of marine litter from all sources.

Seen, Counted, Included: Using data to shed light on the well-being of children with disabilities (UNICEF)
The number of children with disabilities globally is estimated at almost 240 million, according to a new UNICEF report. Children with disabilities are disadvantaged compared to children without disabilities on most measures of child well-being, the report says. The report includes internationally comparable data from 42 countries and covers more than 60 indicators of child well-being – from nutrition and health, to access to water and sanitation, protection from violence and exploitation, and education. These indicators are disaggregated by functional difficulty type and severity, child’s sex, economic status, and country. The report makes clear the barriers children with disabilities face to participating fully in their societies and how this often translates to negative health and social outcomes.

A self-assessment method for social dialogue institutions, SAM-SDI (ILO)
English: https://bit.ly/3Cg9g9u
French: https://bit.ly/3kFKV6V
Spanish: https://bit.ly/3HmB6EE
The self-assessment method for social dialogue institutions (SAM-SDI) has been developed by the International Labour Organization to help constituents analyse and strengthen the inclusiveness and effectiveness of their social dialogue institutions. The method is intended for social dialogue actors in all parts of the world and for institutions of various sizes, composition and mandate, and with different resource levels. It guides users through a series of steps, from taking the decision to undertake a self-assessment, through the process of assessing the inclusiveness and effectiveness of the institution to the development, implementation and monitoring of an action plan.

The State of Food and Agriculture 2021: Making agrifood systems more resilient to shocks and stresses (FAO)
English, French & Spanish: https://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/cb4476en
Also available as digital report: https://www.fao.org/3/cb4476en/online/cb4476en.html
Approximately three billion people, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population, cannot afford a healthy diet and another one billion people would join their ranks should further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third, the UN food agency said, launching a new report on 23 November 2021. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) 2021 State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report states that, without proper preparation, unpredictable shocks will continue to undermine these systems. The report defines shocks as short-term events that have negative effects on a system, people’s well-being, assets, livelihoods, safety and ability to withstand future shocks.

UNDP Policy Brief: The Afghan Banking and Financial System Situation Report
A new situation report released on 22 November 2021 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says Afghanistan’s financial and bank payment systems are “in disarray.” The situation report details the state of the banking and financial system prior to the political transition on 15 August 2021, as well as the current situation in the three months since. It describes a system at a near-standstill, with humanitarian interventions thwarted by the country’s liquidity crisis, deepened by a lack of confidence on the part of depositors and international markets. IMF projections cited in the report predict a contraction of up to 30 per cent in the Afghan economy for 2021-2022.

UNECE Climate Action Brochure
The UNECE region – stretching over North America right across Europe, covering the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia – is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for 34% of the world’s CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. From wildfires to flooding, heatwaves and drought, the region is increasingly forced to deal with the impacts of climate change, on homes and livelihoods, on food and water, on infrastructure and on ecosystems. Faced with the climate emergency and to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals, CO2 emissions need to be halved between now and 2030, both globally and in the region. UNECE member States are taking important climate action in key areas. Through its norms, standards, conventions and policy assistance, UNECE provides practical tools to support countries’ efforts for both climate change mitigation and adaptation.

World Trade Report 2021: Economic resilience and trade (WTO)
The 2021 edition of the WTO’s World Trade Report examines why the interconnected global trading system is both vulnerable and resilient to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, how it can help countries to be more economically resilient to shocks, and what can be done to make the system better prepared and more resilient in the future. The flagship publication, launched on 16 November, notes the need to address these issues in light of the prospect of increasingly frequent and more intense natural and man-made disasters.


International Peace and Security

Assessing the Impact of War in Yemen: Pathways for Recovery (UNDP)
War-torn Yemen is among the poorest countries in the world, but recovery is possible if the conflict ends now, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said in a report published on 23 November 2021. Yemen has been mired in seven years of fighting between a pro-Government Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels, generating the world’s worst humanitarian and development crisis and leaving the country teetering on the brink of famine. The report sends a hopeful message that all is not lost, arguing that its extreme poverty could be eradicated within a generation, or by 2047, if the fighting ceases.

Concept paper for the high-level open debate on the theme “Maintenance of international peace and security: security in the context of terrorism and climate change”
English, French & Spanish: https://undocs.org/S/2021/988
The Security Council will hold a high-level open debate on the theme “Maintenance of international peace and security: security in the context of terrorism and climate change”, on 9 December. The Security Council President for December 2021, Niger, has prepared this concept note in order to guide the discussions on this topic.

Leaving Terrorism Behind? The Impact of Terrorist Attacks on Migration Intentions Around the World (UNU-CRIS)
Terrorism is a global phenomenon with devastating consequences for the individuals involved and society in general. The adverse impacts of terrorist attacks may act as a driver for migration, both within and across borders. Yet, empirical evidence on the causal impact of terrorism on migration is scarce. The contribution of our paper is twofold. First, we construct various indicators of terrorist activity at a fine level of spatial and temporal granularity, which allow to fairly accurately identify individuals’ exposure to terrorist threat. Second, we use these geo- localized indicators to empirically analyse the role played by terrorist attacks in shaping intentions to migrate either internally or internationally. Specifically, we use a multilevel approach combining these indicators with individual survey data on migration intentions in and from 133 countries, spanning the period 2007-2015. Our results indicate that terrorist attacks spur both internal and international migration intentions, though the effect is stronger for the latter. International migration intentions are, however, not necessarily responsive to the frequency of terrorist attacks, but rather to the intensity of these attacks, measured as the number of fatalities and wounded. In addition, the impact on migration intentions is heterogeneous, varying with both individual and country characteristics.

Rule of Law and Sustaining Peace (UNU-CPR)
How has the UN’s rule of law support contributed to lowering the risks of violent conflict? A major new report by UNU-CPR, commissioned by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General and the co-chairs of the Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law, explores this question through eight case studies and sets out an actionable framework for rule of law policymakers and practitioners.


Human Rights

Human Rights Climate Change and Migration in the Sahel (OHCHR)
The human rights impacts of climate change-related migration are at the centre of a new UN Human Rights report, released on 11 November 2021 at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). Focusing on the Sahel in Africa – a region encompassing Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia – the report highlights some of the key human rights challenges being faced due to the interconnection of climate change and migration, and calls for prevention and mitigation measures.

No Exceptions, No Exclusions: Realizing sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice for all (UNFPA)
English & French: https://www.nairobisummiticpd.org/publication/no-exceptions-no-exclusions
The first report of the High-Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 Follow-up, finds progress on some of the Nairobi commitments, but overall notes a harrowing setback in sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world, and calls for ambitious, deliberate and comprehensive action to achieve sexual and reproductive justice for all, in particular women and girls. … The report highlights sexual and reproductive rights as a basic prerequisite for achieving the commitments, while also pointing to the fragility of rights, which remain far out of reach for many people, and argues for a comprehensive agenda for sexual and reproductive justice. The report notes that the global COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the glaring inequities of people who face different, intersecting forms of discrimination based on their gender, race, age, disability, poverty, and status as a migrant or refugee.

Unsafe and Undignified: The forced expulsion of migrants from Libya (OHCHR)
Migrants in Libya are ‘routinely at risk of arbitrary or collective expulsion,’ according to a new report issued on 25 November 2021 by UN Human Rights. Such expulsions are occurring without an individual assessment of their circumstances or protection needs. The report uses official data provided by the Libyan authorities, together with remote monitoring and analysis undertaken between January 2019 and December 2020. While no official government data exists, there are estimated to be more than 600,000 migrants comprising more than 44 nationalities in Libya, many of whom are undocumented and in extremely vulnerable situations.


Humanitarian Affairs

2021 Global Compact on Refugees Indicator Report (UNHCR)
A new report report released on 16 November 2021 by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, shows how far the international community has come since it called for the development of a new international framework to share responsibility for refugee situations – the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The first GCR Indicator Report covers the years 2016 to 2021 and shows progress has been made in increasing support for low-income countries hosting refugees and in expanding refugees’ access to work and education. The report warns however, that much more remains to be done.

DeCID Handbook: Co-designing built interventions with children affected by displacement (DeCID)
English: https://decid.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/DeCID-Handbook-eng-2.pdf
Spanish: https://decid.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/DeCID-Handbook-esp-2.pdf
Interactive website: https://decid.co.uk/
UN-Habitat has partnered with CatalyticAction, University College London’s Development Planning Unit and UNICEF to create a handbook for practitioners working with displaced communities in the built environment. The Designing with Children In Displacement (DeCID) handbook highlights how methods of co-design can enhance social infrastructures built for displaced communities. With the number of forced displaced people at a record level – 40 per cent of whom are children – social infrastructures such as schools and playgrounds are vital for healthy development. By adopting a participatory approach, the impact of infrastructures can go one step further in meeting the needs of displaced communities. The DeCID handbook enables this by providing practical tools and resources around the concept of co-design, a method which allows children to fully participate in the design and implementation of built projects initiated to support them.

Missing from the Story: the Urgent Need for Better Data to Protect Children on the Move (UNICEF)
Today, more girls and boys are on the move than ever before. At the end of 2020, 35.5 million children under the age of 18 were living outside their country of birth. An estimated 33.7 million children – or 1 in 69 children globally – have been displaced within their own borders or across them, mostly due to conflict and violence. Many are urgently fleeing life-threatening situations, including disasters like floods and storms. They face dangers and deprivations no child should experience, and violations of their rights that countries around the world have pledged to protect. But for too many children who have migrated or been displaced, their stories remain largely untold. Too many remain uncounted and unseen, missing from data collection and analysis efforts. Children on the move have a right to be heard. A first step is to count them, no matter where in the world they live or what the circumstances of their movement are. This inaugural International Data Alliance for Children on the Move (IDAC) info brief, Data InSight #1, uses the most recent available data to describe the current situation of children on the move. Key facts and figures illuminate the scale and scope of children’s movement around the globe and how data and statistics play an integral role in protecting these vulnerable children. Convincing as these data are, they are also far from complete. The IDAC info brief explores some of the reasons why, which data are missing and how the global community can address these gaps.

The Road to 2023: Assessing progress and accelerating delivery on the UN Common Pledges in advance of the next Global Refugee Forum
At the 2019 Global Refugee Forum (GRF) the international community came together to demonstrate solidarity with the world’s refugees and the countries and communities that host them, and to make pledges aimed at engaging all stakeholders to build long-term solutions. A pledge made by the UN Secretary-General, and another made by the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, committed UN entities to consider refugees in their own analyses and plans, and to advocate with refugee hosting governments to facilitate refugees’ inclusion in national systems. These two pledges are the focus of this report.

WFP – Saving lives, preventing famine: A basic guide to the work of the world’s largest humanitarian organization as we face down a global hunger crisis – November 2021
The World Food Programme (WFP) has issued an urgent warning that 45 million people are teetering on the very edge of famine in 43 countries, with the slightest shock likely to push them over the precipice. Globally, up to 811 million people are chronically hungry, with 283 million acutely food insecure. Against this backdrop, WFP is aiming to target 140 million people in 2021. This document outlines the general context and provides a snapshot of WFP’s work across several areas.


World Migration Report 2022 (IOM)
Report in English: https://publications.iom.int/books/world-migration-report-2022
Online interactive platform
English: https://worldmigrationreport.iom.int/wmr-2022-interactive/
French: https://worldmigrationreport.iom.int/wmr-2022-interactive/?lang=FR
Spanish: https://worldmigrationreport.iom.int/wmr-2022-interactive/?lang=ES
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched on 1 December 2021 its flagship World Migration Report 2022 which reveals a dramatic increase in internal displacement due to disasters, conflict and violence at a time when global mobility ground to a halt due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The number of air passengers globally dropped 60 per cent in 2020 to 1.8 billion (down from 4.5 billion in 2019) while at the same time internal displacement due to disaster, conflict and violence rose to 40.5 million (up from 31.5 million in 2019). The report, the eleventh in IOM’s World Migration Report series, draws upon the latest data from around the world to explain key migration trends as well as issues that are emerging on the migration policy horizon.


Justice and International Law

Gender-responsive law-making: Handbook for Parliamentarians No. 23 (UN Women / IPU)
Lawmakers around the world have a new resource to help them address gender inequality with the publication of the new IPU and UN Women Handbook on gender-responsive law making. The handbook is timely as countries put in place COVID-19 recovery plans and work to rebuild more equitable and inclusive societies. It serves as a guide for reforming existing laws and enacting new legislation to ensure the rights of women and girls are protected, resourced and implemented.


Drug Control, Crime Prevention and Counter-terrorism

The Drug Situation in Afghanistan 2021: Latest Findings and Emerging Trends (UNODC)
The opium harvest in Afghanistan increased by eight per cent in 2021 compared to last year, to 6,800 tons, which could lead to markets around the globe being flooded with around 320 tons of pure heroin trafficked from the country, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on 16 November 2021. According to UNODC’s research brief on “The drug situation in Afghanistan 2021 – latest findings and emerging threats”, Afghan opiates supply eight out of ten users worldwide, while Afghanistan accounted for 85 per cent of global opium production in 2020. The brief was launched at a policy meeting of the Paris Pact Initiative, which brings together 58 countries and 23 organizations to combat illicit trafficking in Afghan opiates. The meeting is expected to endorse recommendations for action in four areas: cross-border cooperation, detecting and blocking illicit financial flows, preventing diversion of precursor chemicals, and drug prevention and treatment.

Global Report on Corruption in Sport (UNODC)
Up to $1.7 trillion is estimated to be wagered on illicit betting markets each year, according to a new report released on 9 December 2021 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Offering a playbook to effectively tackle crime and corruption in sports by setting out a range of concrete policy considerations, the Global Report on Corruption in Sport also reveals the staggering scale, manifestation, and complexity of corruption and organized crime in sport at the global, regional, and national levels. Developed in partnership with nearly 200 experts from across governments, sport organizations, the private sector, academia, and related stakeholders, it is the most in-depth review of its type to date.

Killings of women and girls by their intimate partner or other family members: Global estimates 2020 (UNODC)
Globally 81,000 women and girls were killed in 2020, around 47,000 of them (58 per cent) died at the hands of an intimate partner or a family member, which equals to a woman or girl being killed every 11 minutes in their home. This is according to data published on 25 November 2021 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The research brief, released on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, is based on data from 95 countries on gender-related killings of women and girls by intimate partners or family members.



Back issues of this newsletter are available at the UNRIC Info Point & Library website:

Latest newsletters

UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter – May 2022

monthly issue of the UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter featuring new UN websites and publications, with a special focus on COVID-19 information

UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter – ARCHIVE

Archive of the UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletters in pdf format.

UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter – April 2022

monthly issue of the UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter featuring new UN websites and publications, with a special focus on COVID-19 information

UNRIC Library Newsletter

* New websites and publications of the UN system;
* New information material available for download.

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in the footer of the newsletter you receive from us, or by contacting us at [email protected]

Get our latest up-to-date backgrounders on the most topical UN subjects.

Follow us on Facebook